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Cloud + Machine-to-Machine = Disruption of Things: Part 1

March 3rd, 2011 03:00 admin Leave a comment Go to comments

Editor’s note: This is the first in a two-part series on the advantages that cloud computing brings to the machine-to-machine space. It was first published as a white paper by Ken Fromm. Fromm is VP of Business Development at Appoxy, a Web app development company building high scale applications on Amazon Web Services. He can be found on Twitter at @frommww.

The use of cloud infrastructure and cloud services provides a low-cost means to create highly scalable applications. Even better, the cloud dramatically improves development speed and agility. Applications can be developed in much less time with much smaller teams. And as these benefits extend themselves in the machine-to-machine (M2M) space, companies creating M2M applications will see dramatic reduction in the cost of developing applications and provisioning services.

Articles on the Internet of Things (or Web of Things) are increasingly finding their way into mainstream news. Executives of large companies (such as the CEO of Sprint) and even government officials (such as the Chinese Premier) are speaking about the possibilities and opportunities of having ubiquitous sensors connected to the Internet.

The use of the cloud – in combination with the advent of low-cost sensors and high-availability M2M data transmission – will transform old industries and modify many business models.

Almost every major electronic device, vehicle, building component, and piece of equipment has the ability to become “smart” by connecting sensors to it. Most devices already do. The difference though is that moving data to the cloud and being able to process it in infinite combinations provides new capabilities in very low cost, transparent ways.

M2M Business Transformation

The case for what the Internet of Things might entail has been eloquently made here, here, and here. When devices and machines can send data to the cloud and have dashboards and interfaces on Web browsers, HDTV wallboards, mobile phones, and ipads, the impact becomes large.

This potential will affect almost every industry – just as the Internet, email, websites, e-commerce, and now Web 2.0 are touching every industry and every business process. The impact will be most noticeable at non-Web companies.

The change here will be dramatic – from where every device is by itself or controlled through a local device to where every device can be accessed anywhere (by authenticated users), where data streams can be “followed,” and interfaces and dashboards improved on the fly to provide new views and device control. Does the concept of “following” a jet engine or a pneumatic thermostat have appeal to equipment makers and airlines or building owners? You bet it does.

Equipment, automobile, and device manufacturers need to beginning positioning themselves to gather realtime data on the performance of each product and use cloud processing and data storage to do it. Using this approach, they’ll be able to rapidly improve their products, build direct connections with customers, and get ahead of customer and product issues. They’ll also be able to offer service offerings and develop new revenues sources. Services will become a part of every product. Some as ways to improve customer support and customer connections. Others as revenue sources in and among themselves.

Want a quick diagnosis on your transmission? Go to CloudAutoDiagnostics.com and check in with your car’s data feed. It will compare your data from the transmission sensors against others with similar transmissions. Yup, there’s a issue but nothing serious. Want a 10% coupon for the service shop around the corner?

Below is a short list where the Internet of Things and M2M in the cloud will matter although it really could be just a single line that says anywhere where there is a sensor, an electronic device, or a machine.

  • Personal Health and Fitness
  • Medical Devices
  • Automobiles
  • Shipping, and Transportation
  • Smart Grid and Smart Buildings
  • Retail
  • Architecture
  • Agriculture
  • Mining
  • Natural Resource Management

The use of the cloud – in combination with the advent of low-cost sensors and high-availability M2M data transmission – will transform old industries and modify many business models. As is the case in each disruptive tech cycle, new companies will arise, existing market share will be threatened, and the separation between industries and channels will become blurred. Those in the M2M space who take advantage of what the cloud offers will not only be able to anticipate these changes but will lead the way into these new opportunities.

Key M2M Cloud Patterns

The goal of this paper is not to convince readers of what the future will like or even go through what new devices might look like. ReadWriteWeb and other tech publications will do a far better job there. The goal here is to list out the advantages that cloud computing brings to M2M applications.

Next page: Separation of Data Collection, Processing, Interface, and Control

Circuit photo by pawel_231; cloud photo by Rybson.

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Source: Cloud + Machine-to-Machine = Disruption of Things: Part 1

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